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Back in Episode# 31, Dr. Chris Humphrey mentioned that he had tried to start a job board. I did something similar, trying to find jobs for engineers. We agreed that it didn’t work for both of us, but as Dave will show, there are ways to set up and run a successful job board.
Before joining the academy, Dave worked in Student Affairs, which addresses areas like residential life, student activities, academic advising, new student orientation, judicial affairs, and community standards. He quickly discovered that he liked to mentor new professionals.
For a lot of student affairs professionals, the career path starts with undergrad and progresses to entering a Master’s program.
Once they finished or left their grad program, they would start the job search for the first time. This search was typically challenging for three reasons:
- It was their first full-time career search
- It was a career search in higher education
- It was a career search in higher education in student affairs
When Dave was mentoring these job seekers, the question he regularly received was “How do I navigate this job search?” On average, a job search can take up to 119 days, and sometimes longer than that. Dave decided to take the information he was sharing with his mentees and put it online, which was how the Job Hakr came about.
What is The Job Hakr?
The Job Hakr focuses specifically on the student affairs job search. Dave works with different professionals in the field and writes blog posts about how to navigate different aspects of the student affairs job search. He is currently working on putting together a YouTube channel and podcast. He is also writing a book on navigating an on-campus interview.
After he started the blog, Dave was constantly asked, “How do I negotiate my salary?”
“Working in higher education and academia is often not the most lucrative (from a salary standpoint) position that a person could take,” he admitted. “(And) when offered a position after conducting a long job search, they usually are not in a position to negotiate.”
To help those with salary concerns, he has put together a course on how to negotiate your salaries in student affairs.
Dave explained, “You’re not going to get anything unless you ask for it. (In addition), your salary is a big chunk of your compensation, but it’s not the only chunk. Benefits in higher education are awesome, at least from what I’ve seen compared to corporate benefits. Some of the biggest ones are vacation time, professional development, start date, relocation, and housing in some cases.”
He tells a lot of student affairs professionals that salary is important, but not to get hung up on the salary alone. Benefits are just as important, if not more.
When he started the Job Hakr, Dave established a social media presence on most platforms.
He got most of his engagement from Facebook, so he started a group but wasn’t sure how the group would be different from the page.
“That’s something that bothered me,” he said. “The page and the group were two areas where I would post my student affairs job search blog posts, but if I did that for both, what was the purpose of having two of them? I started asking people, ‘Would it be beneficial to get postings for new student affairs job opportunities?’ They said, ‘Yeah,’ so I figured I would start using the group for that. Now I use it as a place to curate all of these different postings.”
He soon saw that the group was a great place to discuss postings and potential opportunities. Whenever a member has questions about a job or an institution, they can turn to the community and ask. Facebook group content is also searchable, so if someone wants to know about residence life postings in New York, Dave can run a search and say, “Here are the last five postings for residential life in the New York area posted over the last few months.”
“The board is able to store all of that information, so it’s a great place for people to find different opportunities and apply for them, because I’m pulling them from everywhere. There are a couple of different websites with job postings in student affairs, but I collect a lot of other sources that people miss and put them in one location.”
There have been several instances where someone has wanted to apply at an institution and a group member has worked for that institution or is working there now. They are able to provide some inside advice on what it would be like to work for that office, so the job seeker can make an informed decision.
Tips and strategies for running a Facebook group
Dave said that when someone joins a Facebook group, the founder/moderator gets a notification that says, “You have one new member that has joined. Would you like to welcome them?” When you press that button, it says “Let’s welcome our new member” and then their name, and it tags them on Facebook. While some group owners wait until several people have joined so that they can greet everyone in one shot, Dave recommended that new members be greeted one at a time, as it’s more personal.
He also has a video introducing himself and explaining how to get the most value out of the group. Every time someone joins, he tags them in a comment on the video so they can watch it.
Dave recalled that when he started the group, he tried to encourage engagement by asking questions like, “What jobs did you apply for this week? Did you go on any interviews or anything else?” He also used colourful backgrounds and text for his posts.
“I did not get a whole lot of traction on those,” he admitted. “I was new to groups at the time. I didn’t know how to engage with this group overall. Then I started using the polls feature (and learned that) the overwhelming majority of people just wanted to see job postings, so I started doing that. I would curate posts that I thought would be applicable to entry-level student affairs professionals and share them with the group.
“More and more people started joining because I was providing all of this value to them.”
Dave subscribes to job sites like HigherEdJobs, Inside Higher Ed, Chronicle.com, Indeed, and Glass Door. Any job that had the phrase ‘student affairs’ in it would get curated and come to him. He also uses a service called Unroll.Me, which takes all of your email subscriptions and creates a roll up, or summary of everything. He goes through that summary every day, looking for entry-level positions. If he finds any, he uses a Chrome extension called Tweet This to share it and put it in the job board.
He admitted that at present, he does not save this job information inside the Facebook group. However, he is planning on hiring a VA to log everything, to avoid being too dependent on one platform.
“One of the things I implemented for my group is that you’re not automatically added when you request to join. I have one customized question, which is “Can you please provide your email address so that I can provide you new blog posts and everything else”” Everyone who joins the group has also provided their email address, so even if the group folds or something happens with Facebook, I still have all group member information and I can always contact them via email. I highly recommend that other people do the same.”
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